What are the top ways I can prevent cavities in my kid’s teeth?
The short answer is: good oral hygiene.
Here are the quick tips you need to know:
- Begin brushing as soon as teeth erupt. At this point, you only need to use water on the toothbrush. Brushing and flossing helps to remove bacteria and plaque from around your child’s teeth and gingiva.
- Limit juice and milk to meal times only. The amount of time that teeth are exposed to cavity-causing foods and drinks determines the risk of future cavities, which is why it is important to limit your child’s exposure to sugary drinks. Between meals (and especially once teeth have been brushed for the night), your child should drink water.
- Brush teeth at least twice a day. As children get older, they can brush their own teeth, but you should follow up after their brushing until you can tell that they are doing a good job. (Use a toothpaste with fluoride! Spoiler alert: we will talk more about fluoride in an upcoming post!).
- Limit sweet snacks. This is important for the same reasons given for limiting sugar-containing drinks. Limiting favorite snacks will not be a popular decision with your kids, no doubt, but it is essential in decreasing the chance of cavities.
- Eat tooth-healthy foods. Foods that are rich in phosphate and calcium – e.g. cheese, nuts, broccoli, and cauliflower – help replace minerals in the enamel and reinforce teeth.
So there you have it! Quick cavity-prevention tips. Stay tuned for the next post how to handle pacifiers and thumb-sucking habits.